What Does ‘Community Action’ Mean to Me?

What is Community Action?

Over the past 5 years, I’ve become increasingly involved in community action around the UK.  Community action should be relevant to the local community and make real, meaningful change – but it should also be enjoyable and develop the people taking part. It can be anything from increasing mental health awareness to helping prevent homelessness. Everyone should have the opportunity to change their communities for the better and to have their voice heard.

What have I been doing?

I’ve been getting more and more involved in community action over the last 5 years, to the point where my time is split almost equally between my degree, theatre and community action! I first got involved through Scouts, joining their Community Impact Group. It has been an absolutely amazing experience, and as part of a national panel of 11 people, I’ve designed and launched a community action programme for 500,000 Scouts around the UK. Working with 6 other charities to make the A Million Hands programme, I’ve had the chance to work with amazing people who have made a massive difference to people in their communities.

I’ve had the chance to speak at events and conferences on behalf of young people, telling leaders in the charity sector that young people can make a difference – both on the ground and behind the scenes with policy making. So many people in the third sector consider that young people are a great source of free work, but don’t realise the potential they have to come up with amazing ideas and policies. Getting young people onto steering groups and into trustee positions is a great passion of mine.Where adults have potentially been working in an echo chamber for years, young people can bring a breath of fresh air and new ideas. Where adults are caught up in practicalities, young people have the inspiration and drive to go after aspirational ideas. Combining the experience and drive of these two groups has so much more potential for meaningful and relevant change!

Anyway, enough of the rant…

What am I doing next?

The last 5 years have been spent focusing on a very wide, national basis and I haven’t really had the chance to do much ‘ground work’ community action. This year, I’m applying to be the Communities Officer for Hild Bede SRC – my university at college. This role would allow me to make a difference in a very local community to me, as well as use my experience to make sure everyone can do the same. People come to Durham from all over the world and there are therefore so many differing opinions about what could be done to improve it, and I want to make sure that people have the opportunity and support to do this. From theatre outreach to formals to raise money for charity, you can check out all of my ideas in my manifesto here!

If you’re from Hild Bede, make sure you read the manifestos and vote in this election!

Astrud xx

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